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British Security-- Surveillance

Series/Special. Alan Rusbridger testifies about publishing leaked U.S. National Security Agency surveillance files. (Stereo)




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New York 14, Snowden 10, America 9, Washington 9, Gchq 9, Nsa 6, U.s. 6, Edward Snowden 5, United States 4, Europe 4, Mr. Ellis 3, United Kingdom 3, Glen Greenwald 3, Germany 3, Mr. Snowden 3, Australia 3, David Miranda 2, U.n. 2, Austin 2, London 2,
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  CSPAN    British Security-- Surveillance    Series/Special. Alan Rusbridger testifies about publishing  
   leaked U.S. National Security Agency surveillance files....  

    December 9, 2013
    12:35 - 1:51am EST  

the prime minister made announcement last week where we're tightening up the access to benefits to those who might come from other parts of the european union to this country. i believe we should protect and defend the principle of the freedom of movement, but the freedom to move the seat work is not the same as a freedom to claim. that is a distinction that this government is now making. have been watching prime minister's questions from the british house of commons. question time airs live on c- span2 every wednesday at 7 a.m. eastern and again on sunday nights at 9 p.m. eastern and pacific on c-span. you can watch anytime at c- where you can find video past prime ministers questions and other british .ublic affairs programs >> next the editor of the london based newspaper the guardian.
>> the veins in the arteries, it really connects what is now the information economy in the united states. we are seeing data traffic on our networks increase at the rate of 40 cents per year. i would say america's future is a wireline future. >> the editor of the london- based newspaper the guardian
testified this week. he defended his paper's decision to publish surveillance files provided by edward snowden. this is one hour and 20 minutes. >> chemical to me to order and welcome our witness for today session. you are giving evidence as part intoe committee's inquiry counterterrorism. thank you very much for coming here this afternoon. can i refer all those present to interestser where the
of the defenders of this committee are omitted. can ask other members to declare any special interests? for've written two articles "the guardian" on this issue. i should say we are all "guardian" readers. some of us more avidly than others. we all declare our interest. i did read it this morning. can we just be clear at the start that there was reference to some newspapers are your been compelled to come here against your wishes? we wrote you an invite you to come here and you are part of that inquiry. you don't feel under any compulsion to you? >> i wasn't aware it was optional.
>> when you said yes there's no need to pursue that further. informationect to that you've got for mr. snowden, you only published one percent of the information that you were given. is that still correct? >> it is approximately correct. we continue to publish material but it is about one percent of what we are given. , you havei can see gotten 58,000 files. where are their the files? >> can you give some general context which i think will help ? >>understand about this, you have got a lot of files,
50,000 files. you published one percent. where are the of the files? >> well, as i would've explained , it is an ongoing story we are writing. if you think it is sensible that i talk here about where the exact files are, and i will be happy to write you, but i'm not sure that is really the sensible thing to do about the existence of other files in different but therehe world. >> files in parts of the other parts of the world? >> yes. >> this is important with respect to the inquiry. -- >>sly the con tent there's criticism that some of these files may not the under your control. >> as i would've complained, i iink it would be helpful that
could give some context. it would be important to understand that there are four different sets of information that went to four different parties in four different countries in three different continents. i think it is important to establish that to begin with. was "the guardian." another of them was the "washington post" obviously not under my control. the other went to rio and the other went to germany. i can't obviously say that the washington post is under my control. >> we have talked to "the new york times," and we will take evidence from them in the future. as far as what under control, 99% of what is under control has not been published. you have full control, they're secure and in a place where you feel they can't get into other people's hands? >> i believe that to be true.
>> you also did not reply to my parliamentary colleague in a letter that was published that there are 850,000 people in the world who have the same information as you have in those files. >> we were told that 850,000 people, and this goes to the original leak, and this is what people are most concerned about. 800 50,000 people have access to the information that a 29-year- old in hawaii who wasn't even employed by the american government had access to. >> of these 850,000 people are people who have security clearance? >> august the people were aghast. that a 20 nine-year-old in hawaii was not even employed by the u.s. government could get a hold of their files. hads told that a number
that access. they are also in the position that they choose to be. there is safety in numbers, in other words? >> the point is that these giant databases created after 9/11 have proved poorest. because escaped i somebody people had access to them. people talk about work catastrophe or the fact that there's been this catastrophic loss, that was done to the original leak and that is because this 29-year-old who was
one of hundreds of thousands of informationccess to and i'm sure that is something everyone can be assured of. >> you have severely criticized -- you are criticized by the heads of the security services. this is your opportunity to answer them. parker described are you in your newspaper did as a gift that our enemies needed to evade us and strike us at will. i'm sure you have heard this phrase before. that ourof, i six said adversaries are rubbing their hands with glee. all heads of the security services were very clear in their evidence to the intelligence and security committee that you have damaged this country as a result of what you have done. clearly, other editors took the
decision as well. we know it has been in "the new york times" and "washington post" and other newspapers. but they are not here today. to recognize what you have done? do except that this has damaged the country? is his severe criticism that i have not seen before from the head of our security services. important that editors of the world's leading took virtually identical decisions. this is not a rogue newspaper. it is a serious newspaper who has lots to do with national security. very vacant and not rooted in specific stories. i would like to quote for people back it you who have told me personally there has been no damage. you took evidence last week from norman baker. he said he had seen no damage.
>> we have consulted a member of the senate intelligence committee and somebody who sitting in oversight of all the , has seen it all. he asked not to be named. have you seen anything regarding what has been published that is cause damage and use as incredibly impressed by what you have done. everett about the scope and scale. i've seen nothing you've done that is cause damage. >> a senior at ministration official of the obama administration told us last week and asked the same question. i've been incredibly impressed the judgment and care that you would expect from a great news organization. whitehall senior not seentold me i've anything yet published to date
which has risked lives. so there are different views about this and i listen with respect to the views you have given. >> but you disagree with them? assessmpossible to because no one has given me specific evidence. you have contains the names of individual security officers and this has been said around the world, sometimes paid for by the guardian. security are of our officers, people who are there to protect our country. and that is how you have damaged the country. people without security clearance have been able to read his names, nor they are and possibly know they live. that is the damage that they let you have done. >> first of all we have never use a single name and that is the crucial bit heard republish no names and we have lost control of no names. it is never been a secret that these documents contain names.
a lot of them are powerpoint presentations given by named individuals from the beginning of june when we published a first presentation, we rejected the name of somebody. it was apparent that these documents had names and when the .aterial was seized off it is apparent from the witness statements that the government knew --n, although they although i suggested an already, there has been six months when it is been apparent that there been names in the government news. i told the government secretariat we are sharing this material with "the new york times." on july 22 i gave the editor of the times and e-mail address and steve engelbert from pro-public -- >> you can guarantee, and i find it difficult to to guarantee the security of all
these names of these officers? >> original question was that the copies "to new york times" anything under your control. can you guarantee that these names have not leaked out? these copies under the joint control of the guardian and the new york times. in that six months it would been open to anybody in the government to ask about the names. that hasn't happened. >> is anyone asked you to destroy this information handed over? >> the cabinet secretary came and asked me to destroy the entire cache of documents. so yes. >> but you haven't done so? >> no, that is also matter of public record.
>> some of the criticisms against you in the garden have been very personal. were both born outside this country. i love this country. do you love this country? >> we live in a democracy. most of the people working on the story are british people who have families in this country who love this country. i'm slightly surprised to be asked the question. yes, we are patriots and one of the things are patriotic about is the nature of democracy .nd the freedom of the press >> so the reason you have done this is not to damage country? >> it is to help the country in light of the data that is concerned. that areare countries not general democracies where the press are not free to write
about these things and whether security services to tell wheres what to write and politicians to censor newspapers. it is not the country that we live and in britain. is. it is one of the things i love about this country. we have the freedom to write and to report and to think and we have some privacy. those of the concerns that need to be balanced against national security which known as underestimating. i can speak for the entire garden staff who have families who live in this country that they want to beast secure, too. thank you for coming before this committee. i hope we will have similar cooperation. theyould be just people trust to answer questions. that theike to say
guardian has done great service to this country. you have published for selectively. you've taken all these arguments and publisher a small amount. if you had refused his documents and send them back, what you think would've happened to the information? would it have been silenced or published in another mechanism? >> that is what i the initial context to be understood. by the way i don't think there whon editor on earth would've sent this information back. are all familiar would'veg it. they all done what the guardian did. you look at it and make judgments. people talk about mass dumps of data we have published 26
of the 58,000ar plus to we have seen. selectivede very judgments. what would've happened if we had sent it back? that is the whole point of my point, that clint grunwald had this material in rio. another woman had it in berlin. the washington post had a copy. the thought that this material would not have been published is ridiculous. >> as you know there's a da notice system in the u.k. which prevents people being put at risk. have you had any conversations with the secretary and have a told you that there is a risk to life? >> of all the stories are we'll
published, i think they're about 35 of them, i think we have gone back and counted. on all the stories we have consulted with the relevant authorities. the first story we published the reason i didn't consult with the committee was -- >> since the anti-gun papers in 1962, it is inconceivable that any government would get her material.of any that reassurance doesn't exist in this country. indeed, we were directly threatened by the cabinet secretary. i didn't seek the advice on that story. vice -- aired with
vice marshal vallance. where been in touch since. to some extent there was a misunderstanding which he has extended to the prime minister. there is lot of misunderstanding . the prime minister talked about threatening people with the notices. that is not how it works. he says the misunderstanding is that he would've kept that material confidential from the government. haven't collaborated with him since. >> did he give you any feedback as to whether what you're publishing pose a risk to life are not? that was quite explicit contradictedd seen national security in terms of risking life. he was explicit about that. that is not to say here give us
formplete bill of health things that appear downstream, concerned him saw . it may be politically embarrassing, but none of it risk national security. you've touched on issues which are fundamental national importance. their questions about the future and a wholence range of things about the future of the digital age. in germany there is huge interest in this. in the u.s. there is huge interest rate responses from the president. what you think there's been so little interest here?
otherwise those attacks in the guardian rather than a parliamentary look at the rulebook. why think that is? explain why some people have not taken an interest here it is my expensive when you speak to people about it and explain the issues they're deeply interested. as you say, in terms of the broader debate, i can't think of a story in recent times, i can't think of any story in recent times that is ricocheted around the world like this has and which has been more broadly debated in parliament, in the ngos, that ast world course of people says it needs to be a debate about this. states,sident of united generals, presidents, they'll say there is a debate.
people who have been charged with oversight of security measures here, former chairman of the eyes the said this is a debate we must have. chairman of national intelligence in the u.s. set these are conversations that we have to have. interest,f the public i don't think anyone is seriously questioning that this leaps over the hurdles of public interest. >> you received files stolen by snowden which rec contained the names of secret agents. been known fors
six months that these documents contain names. a criminal offense to release this information. were sent plus files or communicated by you as editor-in-chief of "the guardian". they contained a wealth of information that was effectively a mighty sharing platform between united states and united kingdom intelligence services, wasn't? >> i will leave you to express his words. >> who decline to answer that? that was information which contained a wealth of data, protected data that was both secret and even top-secret under the protective classifications of this country. they were secret documents.
>> secret and top-secret documents. realize they contain personal information that could lead to the that could reveal the identity even of the sexual orientation of persons working within gchq. >> the sexual orientation is new in part from your own newspaper which is still available online, you referred to the fact that group.s its own i suggest to you that the data contained 1000 documents and also had data that ledger newspaper to report that information. it is information that is not any longer rejected under the laws of this country. it jeopardizes those individuals. >> to have completely lost me.
is that a surprise? [laughter] outed byhouldn't be you and your newspaper. other]g over each >> you are either going to answer the question or not. >> please do go on. if you go to the stonewall website, you can find the same information there. >> you said it was news to you. it was in your newspaper. what about the fact that gchq organize trips to disneyland and paris? and information including family details of members of gchq?
>> from gchq to disneyland -- computer files and hackers. building that resembles that --cription is a story about >> i would rather that you didn't. [laughter] we do not need to publicize the information. what about secret locations? there is a point about talk that is in danger of having a discussion about the digital age.
anyone who is interested in this would have done nothing were not available on the website. there's nothing the guardian published that is endangering --ple in the way that you >> it's not what you published, it's about what you communicated. that's what amounts or can amount to a criminal offense. you have caused the communication of secret documents. we classify things as secret and top secret in the country for a reason, not to hide them from the guardian, but to hide them from those that guide us. -- that are out to harm us. but you communicated those documents. if you knew about the enigma code in world war ii, would you have transmitted that information to the nazis? [laughter] >> that's a well worn red herring if you don't mind me saying so, i think most journalists can make a distinction between the time you're talking about or the travel of trips this, is well
worn material that's been dealt with by the supreme court and that you learned in -- when you do your nctj course. i can make that distinction, thank you. >> have members of the board of "the guardian" newspaper said to you or conceded to you that the law may have been broken in this matter? >> no. >> have you been told by members of the board of the guardian newspaper that your job is on the line? >> i think you're under some misapprehension? >> i'm asking a question. >> the board of the guardian newspaper, if you understood the structure of the guardian has no jurisdiction over the editors. >> did the guardian -- >> i think it meets your final question. >> no, i think it's less than six minutes. >> mr. ellis, order. i'm chairing this meeting. this is your final question. >> this is not a -- i'm asking
you some questions that i think you should answer. did the guardian pay for flights by david miranda to courier secret funds? >> we paid for mr. miranda's flights, which was -- he feels acting as intermediary between -- >> you did pay for the flightings. so have they been accounted for as a business expense? those flights? is the uk taxpayer funding a tax break for the transfer of stolen funds? -- files? >> you may not be familiar with the tax laws. i think we'll move on to the next -- >> i don't see -- >> order, mr. ellis. >> perhaps we must go to the courtroom in the 1930's. asking you questions. were you surprised at the amount of intelligence gathering which was revealed as a result of what snowden gave to your newspaper
and other media outlets? >> i think many people are staggered by the amount of -- >> gave yourself, if i may interrupt, were you -- >> i was staggered. i think we all knew that the intelligence agencies collected a lot of data. and people are still trying to make out as though this data -- as though nothing has changed in the last 15 years since the laws were passed with a lot of analog laws that deal with the digital world. i think the last serious law that -- that was passed about any of this material was 2000, a time when facebook hasn't been invented, when google was doing the initial funding round. and we're pretending that the laws that cover really crocodile clips on copper wires are stretchable to deal with the collection of maybe 3 billion
events and the metadata around those in a day. so, yes, there's a staggering amount of information being collected which has surprised even those who passed the laws that apparently -- apparently, i say, authorize the collection. >> would you be right to say that since the reports have occurred, american politicians -- senior american politicians in congress, some, of course, denounce and others have expressed surprise that their own country has been involved in such intelligence gathering on the sort of extent of scale that snowden has revealed? >> the -- the people are most disturbed by the revelation of the -- to the people who passed the laws. the -- are being used to justify it. so congressman sensenbrenner, who is a right-wing republican
who drafted and passed the patriot act, he was the first person out of the stocks to say he was appalled that the patriot act that he drafted was being used to -- to justify what he regarded as un-american, to come to your question, mr. chairman, about patriotism. he was appalled. he said this is not what i intended by the patriot act. there are currently three bills in congress which are being proposed to limit. >> arising from snowden. >> arising from snowden. and arising from snowden through the newspapers and through our publications that are being used to limit the -- these cross
party bills to limit what's going on. so you're quite right to say that the people have been extremely surprised of what's been going on. and in congress, at least, there is meaningful oversight where people are now trying to limit and place some limits on that. >> would you say for our own country it's changed the course of debate, whether the oversight is sufficient and a subject, of course, of the recent public session of the intelligence and security commission. i'm sure we're all impressed by the robust questioning that took place there at the time. but do you feel that it has changed the course of this particular debate? half our parliament is inadequate at this stage to deal with the bout of intelligence gathering involving many, many people who are not public figures? >> i think it's absolutely impacted on that debate. i think there are many parliamentarians were appalled to learn that stuff they were being asked to pass was already been done and the information
wasn't shared with them at the time. it comes to the heart of parliamentary oversight and what is done in the parliamentary oversight is remotely adequate at the moment, whether it's resourceful enough or if they have the technological expertise. i would like to quote one little section from them. we now spent about ten minutes in this committee discussing leaks that didn't happen. the catastrophic leak that did happen was dealt with the isc with the following exchange, chairman, can we assume you're having discussions with your american colleagues about the hundreds of thousands of people who appear to have access to your information. all three of us are involved in those discussions. chairman, chair, thank you very much. [laughter]
that is the only question that's been asked in parliament about the loss of 58,000 documents through a data sharing scheme through gtsq and nsa. if the amount of oversight, the budget for oversight is even now is 1.3 million pounds, supposedly a secret, incidentally, which is, i think, about a third of the amount that he spends on car parts. >> the prime minister in the chamber said that he wants to reach agreement or words to that effect with the guard -- guardian. if the guardian is not willing to see the point of view from the authorities, then actions may be taken. can i ask you this question, how far do you feel -- sorry? >> final question. >> yes. how far do you feel that there is a threat to the newspaper if you continue to publish revelations from snowden? is he under pressure? >> things have happened in this country that would be inconceivable in europe and
parts of europe and in america. they include piracy. they include a senior official going to see an editor to say there's been enough debate now. they include asking for the destruction of our disks. they include and he's calling for the police to prosecute. so there are things that are inconceivable in america with -- under the first -- >> are you under pressure yourself. do you feel this pressure from the government? >> i feel that some of this activity has been designed to intimidate the government, yes. >> thank you, we must move on. before we do, are you telling this committee it's a result of parliament's failure to oversee the security services and the failure to have the necessary expertise and the failure to have a sufficient budget, that's why you were obliged to publish because had you not done so, nobody would have found out about this? >> the only way any of this information has come into the public domain is through the
press. so all of these things -- >> we should look at our structures better? >> we should and america is -- senator diane feinstein who is the equivalent in america who had been supporting the nsa for about three months, the merkel telephone call happens, they didn't know about that. and she said at that point, it's abundantly clear that a total review of all of the programs are necessary. the oversight committee saying we have no idea of what's going on. >> with respect to our inquiry, you think it would be good if this committee looked at the strufrs of both sides, as part of the counterterrorism structure? >> absolutely. >> you wrote in your letter of the 7th of november to julianne smith that the guardian hadn't published the names or identifying information for staff of our intelligence agencies. and i think for the chair earlier, you added that you have used or lost control of that
information. can i -- can i clarify that? in your response to this earlier, did you say that you had communicated that information to the new york times? >> at the danger of repeating myself, we gave the material to the new york times at the same time roughly the same time as we told the secretary that we were doing that and giving the secretary the name of the new york times and had to contact her. >> and you referred earlier to the material for "the washington post" not under your control, the material shared with "the new york times," did that remain under your control. >> the material, yes, the material was given to "the washington post" by edward snowden himself, a journalist called butler gelman. the material we have in "the new york times" is in the joint
control of myself and of the new york times. >> when you say you haven't lost control of the data, does that include the appearance when the data was with fedex which i understand was used to transfer that information? >> no data -- we lost no control of no data. no names have leaked. >> previously you used federal express. i wouldn't refer to the period while whatever i was spending was with federal express. it was in a period that was under my control. is that what you are saying? >> we haven't lost control of it. so the reporting of the fedex transmission was greatly exaggerated. it was reported as tens of thousands of documents, including mi-5 and mi-6 spies, that was not the case. it was material relating -- it was a small amount of material relating to one story that was
incrypted to military grade encryption. it was sent safely, arrived safely, didn't have a leak. >> you refer earlier to the information having commenced with the guardian and "the washington post" owned by green greenwold. are you saying all 53,000 files began with each of those four places? >> could you repeat the question? >> before you said guardian -- then i assume green world and germany, you were saying the data information had started in each of those four places. i'm wondering, are you saying that all of the 53,000 files have started in each of those places? >> i don't think we know exactly who has what. i think probably the only person who has that is edward snowden. >> okay. was there any information which you had at the guardian that glen greenwald did not until you
transferred it to him. >> i don't know the exact answer to that. because i don't know what he -- what -- who got what in the initial -- >> why did the guardian have all of this information to glen greenwald if he already had it? >> well, sometimes -- i don't want to get too drawn into the methodology of how we've worked. >> have you communicated this information? >> i'm not entirely. >> i'm not entirely -- i cannot be entirely sure what mr. green wald had separately from us, what was created in different ways, what is held, in what ways -- what he has on us or not. i've seen him on the public record say he does have complete sets but i don't know that to be true. >> has he said in the public record that the files -- some files relating to gchq that the
guardian shared with the new york times were a set of documents that only the guardian had? >> i don't want to repeat myself too much. i don't know -- i know mr. green wald has gchq material that he has that was given to him directly from mr. snowden. so i can't tell you exactly what we gave him that he didn't have already. >> if you choose not to answer this question, but do you consider -- do you have information on the identities of staff for the intelligence agencies out of jurisdiction contrary to the terrorism act? >> i think i answered that. >> your answer was not clear, at least not to me. >> i'll try to repeat myself clearly.
i think it's been known to the government, apparent to the government for many months. that the material that mr. snowden leaked included a good many documents that had names of security people working for both the nsa and gchq. as i say, aisle say it again, i told the government in june -- in july, that we were sharing this with the new york times. >> which you accept communicates -- >> they work in new york, yes. >> okay. >> one of the reasons for that, i brought this book along with me today, somebody who would be familiar with this the people remember the mid '80s, the secretary travelling to australia to try to suppress this book that was written by a former mi-5 agent. we had the ridiculous sight of a british agency trying to stop
the publication of something that had been published in australia. what was very much in my mind was the ridiculous situation we would be in if the guardian was the only paper in the world not able to publish material that was being published in reno or germany or anywhere around the world. >> final question. you have committed a federal offense there. do you consider that it's in the direct interest for the cps to prosecute him or should that be dealt with in the authorities in the normal way. >> i think it depends on your view of a free press, really. in america, the attorney general eric holder came out in the last two weeks and said on what he had seen so far, he had no intention to prosecute. he's gone further. he said under his watch as attorney general of the u.s., he won't prosecute any journalist doing their duty journalistically.
in new york, in the last month, i debated the general counsel -- general counsel of the nsa, stewart baker. he said he makes the distinction between what snowden did and what journalists did. once that is in the hands of journalists, that's protected material and the readingle of our own dpp and the guidelines that he laid down in the process is that public interest will weigh very carefully and highly in any deliberation he takes. >> and glen greenwald making a distinction between what he was engaged in and said that the guardian was doing which was that the distribution would indeed trafficking across international borders, that information. >> we're sharing that in the new
york times in order to stimulate the debate which presidents and legislatures around the world think vital. >> thank you. just to clarify, is there a current police investigation into the guardian? >> i don't know. >> nobody has communicated with you or interviewed or asked you any questions about this from the metropolitan police? >> i have seen scotland yard say that they are holding an investigation into the matters. general no one told us whether that includes the guardian or not. >> and just a few -- a few records and for public record, we -- the committee has decided to call andrew parker, the head of mi-5 in open session next year. hopefully -- >> do you have advanced notice of the questions we're asking you today? [laughter]
>> i wasn't, i was told that general areas of concern. >> were you stunned to recall having an open meeting, all of the intelligence and security meeting with their carefully manicured questions and rehearsed answers, and to a committee that is accused of being a poodle to the government -- many governments, including the cheerleaders for the iraq war. do you think this raises the question that the two -- the scrutiny provided by that committee is inadequate and we need a reform? >> as i said, lots of people, including former chairs said we need to relook it up and he himself said he wants to look into his own committee and get it so i hope this will be an opportunity for people to talk about how oversight could be improved because there's no question that it should be. >> the united kingdom government's reaction to this story has been very different
from any other government and the united nations special -- the uk government, his response is, i quote, unacceptable in a democratic society and the new york times said the uk government is challenging the idea of a free inquisitive press. is that true? >> i think what's going on in the united kingdom in the last six months has dismaid many people who couldn't care about free speech and a free press, that include ngos, two un special repertories, people in europe, and many editors around the world. >> the fact that a 29-year-old and 800,000 people who like to use information suggest that our potential enemies have access to it too? >> it is in the witness statement that they've been working on that assumption since
the -- since snowden disappeared with the material. >> were you at all shocked by the revelations of the intense surveillance of our allies by this country in places like the g-20 and so on? >> in nature -- the question of the public interest -- the fact that president obama effectively had to concede that his country has been bugging mr. merkel, no denial from australia they were intercepting the phone calls of the president of indonesia and his wife. and that led senator feinstein to say she had to review all of the actions of the intelligence committee.
because, again, this was going on without knowledge. and then you'll remember, either the united states came out and said, okay, we will stop bugging these gatherings of the imf or the world bank, all of the things that had been bugging the european parliament, we don't know. but there was some specific organizations all of that devoted not to espionage, but to bridge building and peacemaking. set up after the second world war, the united st the hnited s out and said, we won't be bugging them anymore, which, to me, is an implicit to the mission that they were. >> do you think the reaction got them into the list to do with security and more to do with the fact that we would traditionally be secretive? >> the committee we had been talking about earlier had just
published the minutes of the last meeting in november. that's a meeting of the press side and the official side. and the vice chairman of that body said it was important to publish routine embarrassment for the security. much of the material by the guardian fell into the former category. a lot of this stuff is embarrassing because it's come into the public domain rather than threatening the national security. >> would you agree you performed a very important public service for legislators? difficult question, i know. >> there's no doubt in my mind. i'll say this again. it's not blowing my own trumpet. >> please, do. [laughter] >> well -- it's not done in that spirit. and this has been a coalition of newspapers, including newspapers in europe -- this is material -- it's self-evident, if the president of the united states calls a review of everything to
do with intelligence, and that information only came to the public domain in three newspapers, then it is self-evident, is it not, that newspapers have done something which oversight failed to do? that will be true of this country and the united states. >> mr. quinn? >> sir, i'm understanding some etiquette. when you come into possession of documents of this nature, whic clearly is a big story for you, but also contained very sensitive national security material, how do you go about judging what you can publish and what you can't publish? >> i don't know an editor in the world who doesn't agonize about these kinds of decisions in a
way that you would expect. we touched on that earlier. what all patriots could care about. >> to be more specific, how in this case could you go about it, in terms of this specific process. >> i discussed this with colleagues who are -- some of us are experienced colleagues in terms of dealing with this kind of material. and it's important to know that since -- in the last six months, there have been more than 100 contacts with officials -- with the official side of things. in america, that's been with the white house, with the director of national intelligence, with the fbi, with the nsa, with the national security council, and with the pentagon. this country it's included downing street, the cabinet office, the national security advisor, gchq themselves, and the dinas committee. we've consulted more than 100 times with the agencies in order to be aware of their concerns before we published them.
>> and so i suppose my question is, have you gone through all of the 53,000 documents? and have some been excluded from publication? will they not be appearing. have others been put in the yes, okay for publication? >> i think -- in terms of publishing documents, i think we've published 26. >> i'm referring to the ones which have not yet been. >> we did a few more pages of documents that have been redacted. i would not expect us to publish a huge amount of more. 26 over six months. >> what about the ones that have been communicated to the united states. because i understand some of those, the names have been redacted and some of them haven't. how did you go about deciding which names to redact and which
not -- >> let's be clear, the guardian has not used any names. in the rare occasion where we've used individual slides from documents which had names on them, we absolutely redacted those. it's been said that the guardian used names, we didn't use names. >> you made it clear that no names were used. >> nevertheless -- >> the question i asked here, where you communicated the documents through the united states and in some cases in the documents, you did redact the names. other cases, you didn't. how did you decide? >> you're sorry. i'm sorry. >> i thought was the case. you haven't redacted any names? >> we have not used any names. >> no, where you communicated the documents to other papers which you said -- >> before transmission? yes. you're quite right. >> so were you sensitive? >> what is she right about? i'm confused. [laughter] >> is she right of sending names or redacting names. >> at the risk of repeating myself, there were names in the documents. the documents have been shared with the new york times.
>> did you redact the names before you sent them. you sent the names as they were out of the country. >> the new york editor has not used any names either. >> did you have an agreement before you sent the documents that -- >> we did. >> you did. what about "the washington post"? >> leaked material directly by edward snowden. >> but you're working with them, i understand. >> we're not working with the washington pose. >> not with them at all. >> the other one we're working with in america is repubu -- propublica. he's extremely experienced. >> did you send documents to him. >> one story, a small number of documents. he has access, again, it's open knowledge, i gave the cabinet on -- the cabinet secretary his name too.
>> all right, thank you. >> thank you. come back with a quick supplement. just some names. >> just why you didn't redact those names before sharing with the new york times? >> there were 58,000 documents. >> so the public interest defense is not the journalism, but that you didn't have the time or don't want to spend the resources going through them before sharing them? >> it was a direct -- there was a direct -- there were conversations with the cabinet secretary which led me to think that it was wise to share this material. >> thank you. >> the ceremony that took place in your basement when the secret survey attended by yourself, how many people were there? >> there were two from the gchq. i think two or three from the guardian. >> and you'll just break up the hard disks and the lap tops, is that right? >> it's harder to break up -- smash up a computer than you think. i think they have a a giant food mixer, things like food mixers
in which you can drop the computer. >> so it was brought to the basement -- >> we did it with black & decker. >> and was there any point in that exercise if you have the documents any way and you're going to publish them? the food mixer thing? >> well, the -- the serious point is this -- and i it goes back to spy catcher. that i was completely clear with the cabinet secretary that there were copies elsewhere. >> right. >> and that the destruction of these computers was not going to stop reporting. i think -- >> they went ahead and brought the food mixer and -- >> we did it with our black & deckers to their instructions. i think that -- i would say, it's a hard choice for the government. i think they were balancing a free press with security. i understand the nature of it,
but the point was, i think, the alternatives to having newspapers, you can criminalize newspapers all you like and try to take them out of this, the next leak, the next edward snowden, the next chelsea manning, weren't going to newspapers. >> just on the ceremony, it was a public relations exercise in the end. >> i wouldn't say that, it was -- it was -- the aim was to stop publication and to have a dialogue of a sort that we were having and mr. robbins' witness statement makes a reason they didn't go for an injunction because they felt that we were behaving irresponsibly. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> from what you said this afternoon, is it the case that you say that what you publish is a newspaper published would not have caused any harm to any personnel, nor to waste any intelligent operation in the security issues?
>> i don't know because no one -- no one has come to me and said, "this is the specific harm that you've done." i've seen lots of people who have dealt with the security agencies. i've seen the former lord chancellor. i see four former home office ministers, patty ashtown who was a former royal marine. i've seen many people who are serious figures who have dealt with the agencies who said one should always treat the claims of national security with proper skepticism. but i think that is a proper thing. and i think the only story in which any member of parliament has directly referred to is the story about the -- the so-called
deep internet, which i'm happy to talk about if anybody is interested. >> and second question is, ben emerson who is the u.n. special repertoire on counterterrorism announced they're going to look at the whole information gathering by the u.s. and the uk. he's going to summarize it. he said it's the role of the free press to hold the government to account and some of the questions from the -- that regarded the investigation and he was on the front of the tabloid newspapers joining that. are you welcoming the u.n. investigation into this issue about -- the whole issue of gathering all of this information and the extent of it? >> absolutely. we had a long and tortured debate about levinson.
and during that debate, we heard repeated assurances from all three party leaders that the -- that the politicians would not interfere in the press. and it seems to me at the very first hurdle, parliament is in danger of falling in that. as i say, i could earlier the -- the general counsel of the nsa, so this is not else inially a friend of all journalists, he's a full-time guy saying, of course, we didn't want this stuff in the public domain. and i perfectly understood why intelligence agencies want to keep all of this stuff secret. but once it is in the public, once it is in the hands of the press, the nsa guy says, the press must be protected. and that is a wonderful thing about america and i think it's a lesson which we're still learning in this country. >> and i many final question is, -- my final question is, in relation to the fact that there has been publishing your newspaper and others have expressed at times, i know the chair has eluded to this about the fact that there is a question about the extent of
parliamentary oversight of the working of the security agencies. can i just ask -- i know again parliament can make its own decision, but do you have some suggestion as to how to a possible way that parliament can, in fact, improve or have more oversight on what the security agent needs to do. >> well, i think somebody has to hold a rein between conflicting debates. we're not talking about one public interest here. security is in great public interest, no one is contradicting that. there's a public interest in privacy and the economic health of the tech companies, the economic basis of the -- of the digital economy in this country. i've seen the figure of 36 billion is the likely damage to u.s. and uk companies because people are not going to trust these companies on the basis of the stories that have come into the domain. so i think oversight has to include people who make -- who
you need a privacy advocate. you need somebody external who has the technical knowledge which i doubt many members of that committee have. a small budget, $1.3 million. and i think there are all kinds of questions and parliamentarians have started to ask whether it's right or whether it's a full select committee of the full house, whether it's right that the chair should be a former person who has dealings with the intelligence committees and responsibility for them. and whether they have enough resource and so on and so forth. so i think -- i'm hearing very helpful suggestions and interesting suggestions about how the isc might be reformed as a result of newspaper coverage. >> thank you.
>> thank you. in austin? >> thank you. the -- what's this sort of point of principle? it's obviously, isn't it, that all governments have intelligence and all governments are going to keep that information secret. why should i think -- i accept from you that you're in a better place to judge what bits should be public? why are you fit to judge that than the heads of the security services who say al qaeda and this has helped britain's enemies. >> not claiming to be better -- it's a broader debate than just security. the democracy i want to live in, that's going to be used as a trump card that says, i'm sorry, you can't publish anything else because national security is going to trample it. >> i'm not suggesting that. what i want to know is when they the people in the experts in the field all the time, serving the country, trying to protect us all saying this shouldn't be in the public domain, how can you
argue that you and the colleagues that you consulted are better able to make a judgment on that. you do because you went ahead and published it. >> well, the tall story. let's talk about the tor story. for members of the committee who aren't familiar of this, is a system of communicating an encrypted form. it was built by the u.s. navy. it is funded to this day by the state department. why is it funded by the state department? it's funded so dissidents in horrible countries can communicate safely. that's a good thing. it's also used by pedophiles. that's a bad thing. we publish the story after talking to the white house for three weeks, to say this is a network that still seems to be safe to use, is that a good
thing or a bad thing? its's good for dissidents and pedophiles. we use our judgment and come back to the earlier -- there's nothing that the guardian published that was not on the -- >> there are two separate things here. one thing to report on the extent of surveillance and say this information is being gutted and report facts that this is happening. that's one thing. i think it's suddenly very different to then, you know, transmit the information in a risky way, in an insecure way, which could put us at risk. you know, security personnel. i think we should see very different things on that. i'm not worried if, you know, if the americans are embarrassed or -- not argue -- reporting the data is fine. but transmitting the information and the way you manage it.
>> i took your question -- the judgment is the judgment of the security services. you're making a different point now. >> all i can say is that the material -- we can talk endlessly about how the material will help it, any time the material has leaked has been from the nsa, not from the guardian, you understand that point? >> why would some of the names redacted. i'm not clear why some of the names and some information was redacted and some of it wasn't. is it because you didn't know what was in order for 58,000 files before they were sent? >> the redaction was of any documents that we published that might have had a name on it. we have not used any names. so redaction, i'm talking about publishments here. >> stuff that's transmitting. >> we did -- some cleaning up, but we did not clean up every -- every one of the 58,000. >> what redactions were done -- >> i couldn't know. >> because you -- >> i don't know.
i don't know. >> you don't know what was transmitted really, do you? you don't know. and when -- i mean when you got around to it, you were transporting the stuff, the files are encrypted. but paid for the pocket and the pass words to unencrypt them, that doesn't strike me as being the best sort of way of looking after secure information. >> that's not -- >> it's a matter of legitimate concern. >> it's not quite right. >> done in the telegraph. >> if you read the witness statement, it's not quite right. what it talks about is the pass word to one file which is a kind
of index to other files. and if you read mr. robbins, 11 days after the material is seized, it's apparent that the encryption on the files themselves have not been broken by gchq -- the supplementary witness given sometime later in which the case they make for retaining the files is that the police couldn't break the files of the kind of encryption that was being used. >> was any information taken home from the guardian by any of your staff. >> no. >> in the documentary about wikileaks, james paul, he said he took a copy of the encrypted documents to his house. but in this case, you're certain it didn't happen. >> yes, the material was held in -- in -- i mean, we -- we're not blind to the sensitivity of this material. we went to more precautions over this material than any other story we've ever had. >> final question. >> this is not being carried
around in that way. >> okay. >> any other question. is that one story? is that the tor story or anything else? >> related to dinas. >> that's a story that falls under political embarrassment and national security and the leaders of the g-20 meeting. >> thank you. >> in your lecture in november of 2011, you said the number of criteria, five tests, journalists must follow if they're going to be involved in the behavior and the guardian is commended by this committee and others. do you think what you have done meets the five tests in regards to sufficient calls, the methods used that that is proper authority and it's the recent prospect of success. have you met this test? >> we were discussing that this week. they're very good tests. it's versus good authority. it's proportionalty.
1%, not all of it. and no-fishing expeditions. and we said in the reporters, in the beginning of this, we're not going to be using this as the brand securities. there's stuff in there like iraq and afghanistan, we're not going to look at it. not what they were doing when he wants the responsible journalists to go through the materials. we abide bid the top tests. >> are you in touch with mr. snowden? >> no. >> someone else is on your behalf. >> not since mr. greenwald left the guardian, i have no contact. >> we have one question, we have the commissioner coming in. i have the commissioner arise for any other reason. i did suspect that it's going to happen. but we have a session on counterterrorism. dr. harper first, then mr. ellis, then mr. willing.
>> there are many interesting things. but i think i'd be grateful how we can result this fundamental problem that the security services will tend to trust us, this is a problem but we can't prove it to you. and that there is simply no way to explore that properly. we also have the issue that terrorism, like pedophiles as my colleague said earlier, is clearly something that you can't do anything to stop it. this is often used to argue for further legislation. what is the solution to this problem? how can we avoid being in this constant position where security services will just say things and there's no way to accomplish it? we need to have those eventually to the other side, how can we
break that down? >> well, okay. as briefly as possible -- this is clearly at the heart of it. and in the real world, this is going to come back to parliament and parliament is going to have -- congress -- all countries with security services are going to work out -- going to have to work out this question of oversight. but those committees seem to me may have the political talent and the society that you couldn't represent the public interest of things that are not purely security. >> one question -- >> your journalist said in the documentary pool that he took top secret encrypted documents back to his flat as mr. austin pointed out to you. and in an on-line interview with buzzfeed with david miranda, one of the staff was due to carrying stolen secret files, got cold feet, and they were sent via federal express. did you know that federal express conditions of carriage